photography by Leonello Calvetti There are four sites near downtown that could accommodate a new ballpark. We like the Farmers Market best.

Why The Texas Rangers Should Move to Dallas

A downtown ballpark with a retractable roof could pay for itself.

A hypothetical: someone offers you two free tickets to a Rangers day game on a Saturday. They are decent but not great seats in the lower level. No parking pass. Do you accept? Our guess is that you don’t for two reasons: 1) It’s hot. 2) You don’t want to drive to Arlington.

That’s why the Rangers should build a retractable-roof stadium near downtown Dallas. The weather and especially the lousy location of their ballpark are costing them millions.

We’ve identified four potential locations: the Alford warehouse property at 318 Cadiz, the Farmers Market area, Parking Lot E near Reunion Arena, and Fair Park.

Now let’s do some back-of-the-envelope math. Average attendance at Rangers Ballpark from 2005 to 2009 (ignoring last year’s outlier World Series-inflated figures) is 28,545. The stadium’s capacity is 49,170. That’s 20,625 unsold tickets per game. Figure an average ticket costs $14. That’s $288,750 per game in lost ticket revenue. With parking ($51,562), concessions ($309, 375), and souvenirs ($309,375), the average per-game loss in revenue is more than $1 million. In five years, then, the Rangers have left $405 million on the table (81 home games times $1 million times five years).

What would it cost to move the team to Dallas if an agreement was reached in 2012? Say a domed stadium could be built for $600 million, with the city picking up half that cost (yes, we’re dreamers). The Rangers need $300 million for the building. But they also need to get out of their Arlington commitment. To break their lease, it would likely take $2 million per contract year left, plus $1 million per year toward the $14 million the team owes for land acquisition costs. If it takes two to three years to build a new ballpark, the remaining obligation would be about $31 million. Total cost: $331 million.

In five years, with the additional revenue generated by Dallas fans not turned off by the weather and the long drive, the new stadium would pay for itself.

Let’s get the dirt flying.